Roseland annexation could be costly, lengthy process

  • Adrian Suarez, prepares to serve tamales from the Elenitas food truck at La Fondita, Friday Feb. 7, 2014 in Roseland. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Annexing the remainder of Roseland into Santa Rosa is such a complex, politically delicate undertaking that it will take at least $1.4 million just to study and nearly 4 years to complete.

That's what the City Council will hear Tuesday when city staff present it with a road map outlining all the steps needed before the 620-acre island of unincorporated land can enjoy the services most residents take for granted.

City and county leaders say they understand that some residents will be frustrated by such a lengthy process, but they stressed that there are simply no shortcuts for a project of this magnitude.

"It's not as easy as snapping your fingers and saying 'Ta Da! You're annexed,'" said Santa Rosa Mayor Scott Bartley. "That's one of the reasons it hasn't happened to date. It has always collapsed under the weight of the task."

Fifth District Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who represents the area, said he's encouraged by the city's efforts but hopeful the process can be accelerated.

"I think that the residents of Roseland and southwest Santa Rosa deserve a more immediate and prompt process than the four-year timeline suggested by staff," Carrillo said.

A 300-acre area at the northern end of Roseland was annexed by the city in 1997. A push in the mid-2000s to finish the job stalled in 2008 when the city and county couldn't reconcile how to fund the higher cost of police services to the area.

Last year the City Council made the annexation of the remainder of Roseland its top priority, instructing Community Development Director Chuck Regalia to come up with a game plan for how to get it done. The Oct. 22 shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff's deputy in the unincorporated Moorland Avenue neighborhood south of Roseland added urgency to the effort.

The city has since won a $647,000 planning grant aimed at focusing future growth in the southwest area around transit hubs. That planning work is expected to streamline annexation by stimulating community interest and funding studies that will be useful to both processes.

The city and the county are now "on the same page" about finding a way to make the annexation a reality, said 3rd District Supervisor Shirlee Zane.

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